NLP - Neuro-linguistic Programming

An initial introduction to the wide field of NLP

Research Paper (undergraduate), 2010

14 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of contents

1. Introduction

2. What is NLP?
2.1 Definition
2.2 NLP Origins
2.3 Presuppositions of NLP
2.3.1 The map is not the territory
2.3.2 People make the best choice they can at that time

3. Models, methods and techniques of NLP
3.1 Rapport
3.2 Calibration
3.3 Pacing und Leading
3.4 Anchoring
3.5 Reframing
3.6 Meta Model

4. Use and Perspectives of NLP

5. Résumé

6. Table of Figures


1. Introduction

„One cannot not communicate“ (Watzlawick et al. 1969/2007, p. 53 ).

Paul Watzlawick’s quote is one of the most important basic assumptions in the field of communication studies. There is no substitute for behavior, so every kind of behavior is a type of communication. Therefore, it is not possible not to communicate.

Based on this fact and the further fact that every social interaction contains a type of communication, it is important to find and study the areas where we can further our communication skills.

Since its discovery Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) can be found in nearly every western industrial country. There are many types of training and coaching available. Companies use NLP for their human resource development, especially for their specialist and executive staff. But what is behind NLP which is likely to be announced as an omni-potent method? Is it just a profitable commercial theory or can advantages be found concerning the communication process?

The intention of the current seminar paper is an initial introduction to the wide field of NLP and to present some ways to improve communication skills.

After a short introduction, concerning the origin and development of NLP, chapter 2 presents two main principles of the NLP model. Chapter 3 will provide an overview of main elements of Neurolinguistic Programming and the following chapter gives an overview of basic methods and techniques to show how you can develop your communication skills. The seminar paper will be completed with an overview of the fields of application and a résumé.

2. What is NLP?

2.1 Definition

NLP stands for Neuro-linguistic Programming. The three words, which make this name, represent the three aspects that make up NLP.1

“Neuro“ - relates to the neurological processes of the brain and nervous system.

“Linguistic“ - relates to communication with oneself and with others.

“Programming“ - relates to behavioral patterns that have been learned through experience .2

NLP provides the user with a wide range of techniques and approaches. It is a system of concepts and techniques that is used to understand and change human behavior patterns. It is the practice of understanding how people organize their thinking, feeling, language and behavior to produce the results they do - it can be seen as an approach to communication and personal development.

2.2 NLP Origins

NLP was discovered in the 1970`s by Richard Bandler, a student of mathematics and psychology, and John Grinder, an associate professor of linguistics, at the University of California. Firstly, NLP was intended to be a model for modeling and communication.3 It focused on the question as to why some psychotherapists have been more successful than their colleagues.

Therefore, they conducted extensive research and analyzed the treatment methods of some of the most famous psychotherapist at that time including Virgina Satir (especially known for her approach to family therapy), Milton H. Erickson (a psychiatrist specializing in medical therapy and family therapy) and Fritz Perls (psychiatrist and psychotherapist, originator of the gestalt theoretical psychotherapy).4 The focus lay especially on the therapist’s non-verbal behavior, the language and the psychotherapist’s mental processes during their patient’s therapies.

Based on the research material and findings, Bandler and Grinder derived their general principles of human behavior and communication. All therapists had something in common; they subconsciously knew what the patient was thinking and all three of them were able to use the information multifaceted.5

NLP, like other psychological approaches, is based on the belief that human behavior is defined and structured through inner processes. After their studies Bandler and Grinder came to the conclusion that every single person can learn to influence their own inner processes and the inner processes of every other person and therefore to be able to assemble an optimal communication process.

2.3 Presuppositions of NLP

There is no uniformity to the number of presuppositions. The number differs from country to country and from association to association. But the main presuppositions are very similar. So as not to go beyond the scope of the work, I will only present the two main and most important NLP presuppositions.

First of all, it is important to know that the presuppositions are essential to get a full understanding about what NLP is. They are the central principles and the guiding philosophy of NLP. They are not claimed to be true and they are not proven to be empirical right. They are presuppositions because you presuppose them to be right and take them as if they are.

2.3.1 The map is not the territory

This presupposition is the most important one, without it NLP would not be possible. This presupposition was originally developed by A. Korzybski, who was the founder of General semantics.

Every person has his own and unique map of his individual world, which has been created by his experiences in the past. Therefore, everyone reacts on his own map of reality” based on subjective cognition.

The following diagram shows how we take an external event into our neurology and how it affects our behavior.6

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: communication model

The basic rule is that everyone values a foreign map in the same way they value their own. There are no better or worse maps. The only differentiation which is allowed is in relation to the fact that some maps are more helpful in some situations than others. The intention of NLP is to improve the usefulness of the maps whenever it is realized that the map is constraining or destructive.7

2.3.2 People make the best choice they can at that time

Given their unique and own map of the world, every person always makes the best choice he or she can. Even when the choice seems to be wrong from outside or may be self-defeating, self-destroying or ineffective, for the person in this situation and under those circumstances, it seems the best way forward. Therefore, NLP offers a wide range of possibilities to give a person a better choice by developing their own map of the world.8


1 NLP ACADEMY : , 13/02/2010

2 STAHL: Neurolinguistisches Programmieren, 1996, p.9.

3 SCHÜTZ et al. : NLPt, 2001, p. 31.

4 SCHAUER: NLP als Psychotherapie, 1995, p. 31.

5 BACHMANN: Das neue Lernen, 1993, p. 19.

6 SCHAUER: NLP als Psychotherapie, 1995, p. 108.

7 STAHL: Neurolinguistisches Programmieren, 1996, p. 14.

8 STAHL: Neurolinguistisches Programmieren, 1996, p. 17.

Excerpt out of 14 pages


NLP - Neuro-linguistic Programming
An initial introduction to the wide field of NLP
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
459 KB
Hochschule für Gesundheit und Sport
Rapport, Calibration, VAKOG, The map is not the territory, People make the best choice they can at the time, Pacing, Leading, Anchoring, Ivan Pavlov
Quote paper
Sandra Janicki (Author), 2010, NLP - Neuro-linguistic Programming, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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